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Release Date: 6/15/1998
Contact Information: Paula Bruin, U.S. EPA, (415) 744-1587

     (San Francisco)--The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) will begin testing  tap water in McFarland as part of its investigation to determine current environmental conditions in the community's soil, water and air.  This second phase of the water tests will be conducted to determine if contaminants are entering the drinking water distribution system.   U.S. EPA tested the municipal drinking water wells and municipal water storage tank in July 1997 and found the water safe to drink.  The Agency will sample drinking water faucets at schools, public parks and buildings and at several homes located throughout McFarland.  The municipal wells and storage tank will also be tested again to compare to the drinking water faucet results.

     The public is invited to observe and discuss sampling activities which are expected to begin June 22, 1998, and run through July 2, 1998.  U.S. EPA representatives will be available at the Kern County Fire Station, 700 W. Perkins Ave., McFarland, Calif., Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., during the sampling event.

     U.S. EPA will test for over 300 substances including all the same substances tested for in the first phase of sampling.   Samples will be sent to laboratories for analysis.  U.S. EPA will review and validate all analytical results to guarantee the laboratories' methods and accuracy.  After the data is validated, the information will be shared with the community.

     U.S. EPA has conducted several community interviews in McFarland to identify individual community concerns and collect information for preparation of a community involvement plan.  The sampling and community plans in both English and Spanish are available for public review at the McFarland public library and the Bale Memorial Library in Bakersfield.

     U.S. EPA's investigation is in response to a petition by some McFarland residents who requested help in assessing the community's potential environmental problems.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: A press availability will be held Monday, June 22, 1998, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Kern County Fire Station, 700 W. Perkins Ave., McFarland, California.  Representatives from U.S. EPA will be available to discuss the investigation and answer media questions.